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Amazon’s new terms of service for customer communication have created big opportunities for informed sellers, are you familiar with its changes and how they affect your Amazon FBA business? We’re here to make sure you’re up to speed with Amazon’s seller expectations and ensure you maximise the latest smart customer communication strategies available. 

Amazon may have popped into your inbox recently with news of impending customer communication policy changes. The ZonGuru team is here to walk you through the changes and assure you there is no cause for alarm! Infact, the new guidelines are a windfall for sellers with solid customer service strategies. We now have very clear communication guidelines, especially around the hot topic of review requests. 

So let’s cut to the chase! With the new updates are review requests allowed?

YES! Review requests are absolutely allowed through Seller Central customer messaging or through an email review request link.  

However, in order to avoid penalties or risk the suspension of your Amazon FBA seller account, it is super important that you follow the rules for engaging with customers. Let us show you how to play by the rules with clever email templates, the exact do’s & don’ts of the changes as well as some out of the box thinking to improve the customer experience.

Let's get the basics right!

Golden rule number one: never use customer service as a band-aid solution. Set yourself up for success and make sure you master the basics:

  • Provide a world-class product - this sounds very obvious but you would be surprised by the number of sellers who cut corners. Take the time to ensure you have a quality supplier who is a master in their field. If you’re unsure where to find it, check out our Easy Source Tool, where we can match you with a dependable and verified supplier. Perform quality checks on your product, arrange samples, and even use an inspection service if appropriate.
  • Sell an experience - in order to wow your customers and create a great buying experience give attention to your packaging and branding. Who is your ideal customer? Integrate your customer avatar preferences into your branding and packaging so that they instantly feel connected and drawn to your product.
  • Perfect your listing copy - provide an accurate description of your product that is engaging and in a tone that resonates with your desired customer. Don’t include something in your listing that simply isn’t true. There is no quicker way to disappoint a buyer than to underdeliver on promises. If you’re unsure of how to develop keyword lists and craft effective listing copy check out our Halo Effect Method for clear strategies to the top that won't disappoint buyers!
Example of premium product with sophisticated packaging to match customer avatar.

What are the Amazon Terms of Service (TOS) and why are they important?

Amazon has terms of service (TOS) which are designed to protect both sellers and buyers on its platform. Essentially, they are a list of do’s and don’ts that sellers must adhere to when communicating with buyers. Just like most rules, there are consequences for breaking them!  

Whenever considering a customer service strategy always make sure it’s in alignment with current TOS. As an official partner of Amazon, ZonGuru is committed to ensuring our customers are the first to know of any changes that may affect their Amazon business.  

We’ve been notified that changes to Amazon’s TOS are coming into effect 6th November 2020.

Amazon’s recent email blast to sellers notifying impending TOS changes.

How does the new Amazon TOS change how I communicate with buyers?

Amazon will allow ‘permitted messages’ to be sent to customers who have contacted you about purchasing a product or who have already purchased a product from you. This is your chance to really WOW a customer and provide support that strengthens your brand reputation. 

A permitted message can include:

  • Resolving an issue with order fulfillment
  • Requesting additional information required to complete the order
  • Asking a return-related question
  • Sending an invoice
  • Requesting product review and/or seller feedback
  • Scheduling the delivery of a heavy or bulky item
  • Scheduling a Home Services appointment
  • Verifying a custom design
  • Any other reason where the contact is required for the buyer to receive their purchase.

Keep in mind whenever you send a message to a buyer it must be within 30 days of order completion, in their preferred language, and include the 17 digit order number.  

As an official partner, Amazon allows ZonGuru subscribers to utilize the Email Automator tool to bulk contact customers for any of the above reasons. Never bother with sending individual messages again! To make life easier we have set up message templates within the Email Automator tool to save you time and get you back to what you do best...making sales!

Choose a template from the ZonGuru Library
Choose a template from the ZonGuru Library.

What must A+ Amazon sellers NEVER do?

You may not be aware but Amazon already does a great job communicating with buyers regarding order updates, shipping, and much more. Amazon’s new TOS prevents multiple messages being sent for the same topic and is designed to create a better buying experience. As a positive to sellers, these changes also create a more level playing field with ‘black hat’ tactics such as coupons, promotional messaging, and incentivized review requests being banned.  

Amazon’s new terms of service prohibit the following messages:

  • Order or shipping confirmations
  • Thank you messages or here to help messages
  • Marketing or promotional messaging, including coupons 
  • Language that either incentivizes or persuades the buyer to submit positive product reviews or seller feedback
  • Language that requests removal or an update of an existing product review
  • Language that requests a product review only if they have had a positive experience with the product
  • A repeat request (per order) for a product review or seller feedback 

How can I customize my customer communication?

We understand you want your brand to stand out from the pack, however, make sure you do it the right way. Clever email copy and language that resonates with your preferred customer will take you much further than 24 point glitter banners ever will. 

Amazon prefers a consistent messaging experience for its customers and states all permitted messages should not contain the below:  

  • External links, unless they are secure working links (https, not http), necessary for order completion or links to Amazon
  • Attachments except for product instructions, warranty information, or invoices 
  • Logos, if they contain or display a link to your website
  • Link to opt-out of messaging 
  • Sensitive content in images or text (e.g. bare skin, violence/gore, adult/offensive language) 
  • Tracking pixels or images 
  • Email addresses or telephone numbers 
  • Images of purchased products as Amazon includes those on your behalf
  • Images that do not relate to your brand or company 
  • Accessibility issues as specified in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from the Web Accessibility Initiative 
  • Emojis 
  • GIFs 
  • Message margins over 20% max-width 
  • Image or graphic sizes larger than 80% max-width 
  • Overrides of Amazon’s default line height, font family, or font color 
  • Fonts in more than three sizes 
  • Message bodies that are centered or that otherwise override default text alignment settings 
  • More than two line-breaks (spacing between paragraphs) in a row
  • Unsecure images (http instead of https) 
  • Spelling errors or grammar issues

So, can I email Review Requests to Amazon customers?

Yes! Review requests are within terms of service provided you stick to the above guidelines. ZonGuru provides two tools which make light work of review requests: Email Automator and Review Automator. 

The Review Automator bulk messages buyers within the Seller Central platform to request a review. The message format is standardised and can’t be changed, however this clever tool will automatically filter out any customer orders who might leave you a less-than-5-star review, such as: ineligible orders, pending orders and refunded orders.

Review Automator Message Format
Review Automator Message Format

The other option is our Email Automator tool, which acts as a communication channel between buyer and seller. A benefit of using Email Automator to request reviews is the ability to customise your message, pre-set the preferred message delivery window as well as track email open rates. This really is a super flexible tool that even allows you to create multiple email templates for different products or regions. 

How can I promote my Amazon product?

Just because you may not be able to send a fancy email to your customer letting them know about your latest product launch or offering doesn’t mean you can’t add value and quickly build brand loyalty in other ways. 

  • Social media - If you have a brand you should have a social media account. Period. Not only do customers expect to find you on their socials these days but it is a signal of trust, especially if you have a verified Instagram account. It is a platform for you to connect with your fans, control your messaging, tag products, and is a business asset if you ever intend to sell your Amazon business in the future. If you don’t have social media but your competitors do you’re handing them a competitive edge, plain and simple. 
  • Product inserts - Product inserts are a fabulous way to connect with your buyers. You can easily provide additional value through handy guides, care instructions, or a great spiel about your brand and back story. Keep in mind you MUST not include content that attempts to circumvent the Amazon sales process or divert Amazon customers to another website. More information regarding seller code of conduct and product inserts can be found here
  • Brand register - For the small price of a trademark you can become Amazon Brand Registered. What does this mean? It gives you access to your own brand web page, special advertising campaigns, and most importantly, A+ content! People shop with their eyes, having additional real estate to showcase beautiful product photos and information can quickly elevate you above boring and bland competitor listings. 

Final Thoughts: Proactive Amazon sellers are the long term winners

We understand that it’s easy to become overwhelmed by horror stories of banned seller accounts who fell foul of Amazon’s terms of service. BUT, just like any healthy relationship, communication is the key. The ZonGuru team is here to let you know about the impending changes and what Amazon’s seller expectations are. In addition, we encourage all sellers to take a proactive approach to TOS changes and regularly check in and self audit to eliminate the risk of noncompliance issues. 

More importantly, remember customer satisfaction doesn’t start and end with an email. The customer experience should be considered at each stage of the seller journey and will pay dividends well into the future with raving fans! Who doesn’t want that?

ZonGuru gives you the tools to take the guesswork out of day-to-day customer communications. Would you like to know more or try Email Automator for yourself? Why not sign up for a FREE 7-day trial today!

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Email Automator Template

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Email Automator Template

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